If you're used to having your mobile phone ready and willing to answer the call of duty at all times, you may feel a bit naked when the flight attendant tells you to shut your phone off for the remainder of the flight.
As long as you've got your trusty laptop (and, hopefully, have charged its battery), you'll have plenty to keep your mind distracted during the flight. And if you're lucky enough to be on a flight that actually has broadband Internet access, you can communicate in any number of waysinstant messaging with friends across the globe, video chatting, voice over IP (which allows phone calls over the Internetsee Chapter 8), and so forth.
Flyin' with Wi-Fi
Remember when it was a novelty just to make an overpriced phone call from your seat? Well, if the FCC and the airline carriers have their way, you'll be able to connect wirelessly to the Internet at broadband speeds.
As of this writing, the airlines already experimenting with the broadband wagon are Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines System, Japan Airlines, ANA, Singapore Airlines, and China Airlines. So far, no U.S. carriers have announced this capabilityhowever, Qualcomm and American Airlines have tested in-cabin mobile phone usage using CDMA mobile phones on an American Airlines aircraft. Through an in-cabin cellular network, passengers on the test .ight were able to place and receive calls, send and receive text messages, and check voicemail as if they were on the ground.
It's not just the airlines that are providing Wi-Fi for their customers. A Boston bus company called LimoLiner (www.limoliner.com) provides wireless Internet access on trips between Boston and New York Cityplus power outlets for your laptop, DVDs of the latest movies, and more.